How to Wire Up a DSL Phone Line

By Jack Brooks

Add a new DSL line or upgrade your existing phone line yourself for the best broadband performance from your Internet access, and avoid scheduling hassles and costly telephone company service calls. Use your handyman skills to install your own quality DSL wiring when and where you want it.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat 5 cable (length as needed)
  • Surface mount RJ11 telephone jack with mounting screws
  • Tape measure
  • Flat and Phillips blade screwdrivers
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Electric drill
  • 1/4-inch electrician's drill bit
  • Wire stapler and round staples

Install Cable

Step 1

Determine wiring route from the outside DSL interface (demarc) box, along the exterior wall and into the computer room, keeping away from power lines and appliances having electric motors. Measure for needed cable length, adding an extra 3 feet for connections. Cut the Cat 5 cable to length.

Step 2

Mark a point on the outside wall for the hole bringing the Cat 5 cable inside, 3 to 4 inches above the floor of the room for the RJ11 jack. Use the drill and 3/8-inch bit to drill this hole through the exterior wall, away from any power wiring inside the wall.

Step 3

Staple the Cat 5 cable to the exterior wall, with a foot of slack for connection, starting under the demarc box. Continue stapling every foot or so to 1 inch from the predrilled hole. Feed the remaining cable through the hole into the computer room.

Make the Connections

Step 1

Remove the RJ11 jack cover. Slide the jack over the cable coming through the wall, trimming it to 3 inches. Strip the outer insulation, exposing 2 inches of the conductors. Remove 1 3/4 inches of insulation from the green and white/green conductors, twisting them together with the needle nose pliers. Strip 1 3/4 inches of insulation from the orange and white/orange conductors, twisting them together. Coil the unused conductors out of the way.

Step 2

Use the flat or Phillips blade screwdriver to connect the orange paired conductors to the red screw terminal of the RJ11 jack. Connect the green paired ones to the green screw terminal. Use the Phillips blade screwdriver and mounting screws to secure the jack to the wall. Replace the jack cover.

Step 3

Unscrew the customer access screw on the demarc box cover, exposing the customer hookup area. Feed the Cat 5 cable into the one of the bottom openings, leaving a small "drip loop" under it.

Step 4

Trim the cable for connections inside the demarc box. Strip cable's outer insulation, exposing 2 inches of the inner conductors. Remove 1 3/4 inches of insulation from the green and white/green conductors, twisting them together using the needle nose pliers. Strip 1 3/4 inches of insulation from the orange and white/orange conductors, twisting them together. Coil the unused conductors out of the way.

Step 5

Use the Phillips blade screwdriver to connect the orange pair twisted conductors to the red screw terminal in the demarc box. Connect the green pair twisted conductors to the green screw terminal. Check connections and close the panel, tightening the cover screw. Test operation by connecting the DSL modem or router to the RJ11 jack, setting it up per the guidelines of the DSL Broadband Service Provider.

Tips & Warnings

  • Strip unused inner conductors, and twist them together with the existing ones for additional DSL signal efficiency, making both ends the same color-coded pairs.
  • Avoid any live power wiring when doing home electrical work.
  • Be careful when stapling any signal cable; don't puncture it with a misplaced staple.